Serving In The Outdoors: Troop 450 Harvests Food For Nonprofit


When most people think of food banks, they typically imagine pantries that accept donations of canned goods, nonperishables and toiletries. Boy Scout Troop 450 of Severna Park is no stranger to collecting food donations for those in need, but not in the way people may expect.

Every year, the troop drives one hour north to Freeland, Maryland, to help the nonprofit First Fruits Farm harvest produce that will be donated to battle against food insecurity.

“I know a lot of people that benefit from this, so it’s nice to know I’m helping out more people,” senior patrol leader Jonathan Davis said. “I know a lot of people that can benefit from service projects, and it just feels good to help the community.”

First Fruits Farm produces a bevy of food products including tomatoes, corn, peppers, beans, honey, animal products and more. The nonprofit partners with organizations across the mid-Atlantic region to help against food insecurity, with ample support from volunteer groups.

Troop 450 has been volunteering at the farm for, in the words of adults and Scouts, since before they joined. In reality, it has been at least a decade-long tradition. This July 29, a team of nine Scouts and adults gladly gave their time to volunteer.

“[Nonprofits] give back,” patrol leader Grant Miller said. “You’re always consuming stuff, but you never really produce that much for other people. So, by going on service projects, you get to give back to your community and help other people.”

The troop has harvested many crops over its annual visits, and this year, members picked a patch of non-pickled peppers. After two and a half hours of working in the sun, the troop had filled dozens of crates with green peppers and baskets full of banana peppers.

“I liked it; it’s hard work, but it’s fun,” said Matthew Redmond, a first-class Scout. “I liked that I was helping people.”

As pointed out by the troop’s service project coordinator, Renee Beck, who has organized the event for the past two years, helpfulness is one of the 12 points of the Scout law. That, along with service to the community, are the driving forces for service projects. It’s no different for this project.

“These outings not only benefit the organizations they support, but also help build a sense of brotherhood among the Scout ranks,” Beck said. “Going out into the community is a shared experience where our Scouts can represent our troop and the Boy Scouts of America organization at large. It's always a rewarding experience, and although sometimes a lot of hard work, can also be fun.”

Though Scouts, youth groups and schools bring big volunteer groups to the farm, individuals and families can volunteer as well. Forms and more information about volunteering can be found at

Troop 450 also meets every Thursday at 7:30pm in the St. John the Evangelist School auditorium. Whether someone wants to get outside for some hard work or is looking for a way to serve the community, both groups are always welcome to newcomers.

“[It’s good] to know what it’s like to do other people’s jobs — to give back to the community and be able to help other people,” Grant said.


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